After a turbulent domestic situation off the field and being cut by the Baltimore Ravens and essentially locked out of the NFL for a year, Ray Rice was welcomed back at Rutgers, where he was a key player in the rise of the Scarlet Knights program under Greg Schiano. Rice was invited back for the Friday night spring scrimmage by current Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, who felt the time was right to help a member of the Rutgers family.
“I reached out to Ray. I thought we had an opportunity here for Ray to give a very important message to our football players and he did that today,” Flood explained after the Friday night scrimmage.
“The message was really simple; you can do a lot of great things in your life. You can do charitable works at home and in the cities you are working in, but if you make the wrong decision, you’re going to have to be accountable for it,” Flood explained. “Ray made a wrong decision and he’s held himself accountable for it. He’s paid the price for it and I thought today was an opportunity for him to deliver a message to prevent one of our young people from doing that in the future.”
On the field, Rutgers saw some good development from the running game and the offensive line, which should be the strength of the offense in the fall. The quarterback competition, as it so often does this time of year at most programs, should continue over the summer with Chris Laviano and Hayden Rettig each looking to replace Gary Nova under center.
“I think both guys have done a good job,” Flood replied when asked about the quarterback performance Friday night. “I think Chris [Laviano] is a little ahead right now, but that doesn’t surprise me because he’s had the advantage of playing in the games.”
Rutgers had a spring game crowd of 15,782 come out to watch the Friday Knight Lights event. The 2015 season begins at home on September 5 against Norfolk State.
Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood would much rather focus all of his energy on the first Big Ten game in program history this week. In light of a video of former Scarlet Knights running back Ray Rice being shown striking his wife in an elevator in an Atlantic City casino, Flood felt it was his responsibility to at least make a quick statement to the media before taking questions about his next game.
“Ray (Rice) will always be a part of our family,” Flood opened a Monday media session with. “The video I saw this morning was difficult to watch. As a husband and as a father, there’s nothing that could justify what I saw on that video. This is a sad day for Ray and a sad day for Rutgers.”
Rice was suspended by the NFL for two games to start the 2014 season (which started yesterday in case you missed it). Now that the video has been shared with the world, criticisms directed at the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell and the Baltimore Ravens have been running wild all day. Flood still considers Rice a part of the Rutgers football family but stands firm in saying Rice’s actions do not meet the standards Flood expects of the Rutgers football program.
“Family is family but at Rutgers we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard and we expect a lot out of our players and we expect a lot out of the coaches and the staff that we have here in the Hale Center which we expect a lot out of our alumni,” Flood said. “I think because of those expectations, this is a sad day.”
Rice appears in a highlight video that plays inside High Point Solutions Stadium between the first and second quarters. Flood said he has no involvement with the video but said he believed a decision on what to do with the video package would be made by those in power to address it. Flood also does not expect this news regarding Rice to serve as any distraction to his current players as they prepare for Saturday night’s game against Penn State.